Monday, 21 January, 2019

VW suspends chief lobbyist over emission tests on monkeys

VW widely condemned for testing diesel fumes on monkeys and humans VW suspends chief lobbyist over emission tests on monkeys
Nellie Chapman | 30 January, 2018, 17:46

The reasoning for the study was to defend the safety of diesel cars following claims that their fumes were carcinogenic.

A report by The New York Times found that the research group financed by top German vehicle manufacturers commissioned experiments in which one group of monkeys was exposed to diesel exhaust from a late-model Volkswagen, while another group was exposed to fumes from an older Ford pickup.

EUGT received all of its funding from VW and fellow German carmakers Daimler and BMW, the New York Times said.

The German vehicle maker, which is still embroiled in the never-ending Dieselgate emissions scandal, reportedly commissioned a test - along with fellow German manufacturers Daimler and BMW - that was run by the European Research Group on Environment and Health in the Transport Sector (EUGT).

Europe's largest automaker has come under fresh scrutiny after the Times said last week that Volkswagen and German peers BMW and Daimler funded an organization called European Research Group on Environment and Health in the Transport Sector (EUGT) to commission the tests.

Reuters could not confirm the details and goal of the study and EUGT, which was dissolved past year, could not be reached for comment.

The European Commission is aware of reports of third-party testing and "we hope that the Minister of the respective country will be able to explain what has happened" at a ministerial air-quality summit that will take place in Brussels on Tuesday, a spokeswoman for the European Commission said.

The German government on January 29 condemned the experiments and Volkswagen sought to distance itself from them, with its chairman saying that "in the name of the whole board I emphatically disavow such practices".

Volkswagen said the study was never discussed in any management board meetings, after Bild earlier reported that an internal e-mail showed that at least some senior managers were informed about the design of the research.

Volkswagen said the project was "not completed or published" before the EUGT was dissolved in June 2017.

Other reports, this time from Germany's Stuttgarter Zeitung and SWR radio, claimed 19 men and 6 women had inhaled diesel fumes in another EUGT experiment.

The human study, carried out by Aachen University, involved studying the effects of exposing 25 subjects, mostly students, to low levels of nitrogen dioxide like those that could be found in the environment-from a 40-litre bottle, not a diesel engine.

Mueller yesterday labelled the animal testing "wrong ..."

Stephan Weil, who sits on VW's supervisory board, stressed that "the behaviour of the company must in every respect fulfil ethical demands".

Jens Hanefeld, responsible for global and European political issues at VW, will replace Steg on an acting basis, VW said.